Monday Morning Music

So, yesterday was Alpha Reader’s birthday. It turned out to be a lovely day of noodling around town, looking at art, and eating ALL THE FOOD! I made flan and stuffed pork chops for him and we had amazing smoked salmon melts at the Madison.

I asked AR who he’d like to see on this week’s Women’s History Month edition of Monday Morning Music. He gave me a list and I told him I’d see what I could find.

Let’s start off with Nicolette Larson. She had a few top 40 hits in the 1970s with her California pop sound before switching to country where she recorded a few more hit songs. Sadly, she died in 1997 of cerebral edema and liver failure (not the first artist I’ll be playing today who died too soon). Here she is in 1982 playing two of her hits for the National Easter Seal Telethon (“Lotta Love” and “I Only Want To Be With You”). You can even see Freebo in the back playing bass! (and yeah, Rick Dees being a dork–ah, the ’80s)

Another purveyor of that California sound who AR loves is Linda Ronstadt. She has done a lot of interesting stuff in her life, recording a huge list of pop hits, and performing operetta (Pirates of Penzance, big band jazz standards (with Nelson Riddle), traditional Mexican folk songs, as well as recording a children’s album of classic rock and roll songs reinvented as lullabies. On top of that, she’s a political activist and quite possibly the reason a lot of folks used to think Jerry Brown was a liberal. 😉 She has since retired from music, announcing last year that she suffers from Parkison’s Disease and can no longer sing. I just read about this for the first time this morning. Damn it! That’s not fair!

Because Ronstadt’s career has been so diverse, I’m posting two of her videos. First, here she is singing a couple folk songs in 1989, “El Crucifijo de Piedra” and “Yo soy El Corrido.”

And from further back in her catalog, here’s “Tumbling Dice” from 1977.

Okay, this is becoming a depressing post. The next two women I’m going to play for you: one of them is dead and the other has retired from music because she, too, can no longer sing. *sigh*

Sheila Chandra is an English pop singer who AR & I discovered (as I recall) on the radio as we drove from Eureka, CA over the hill to Willow Creek (or somewhere in that vicinity) one day. The local public radio station was playing her entire 1992 Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices album. We both fell in love with her voice and her drone style of music. Chandra retired in 2010 after she developed burning mouth syndrome. She can neither talk nor sing anymore. Again, not fair!

Here she is with “Ever So Lonely.” I know; it’s her biggest hit and not from WMAV, but it’s the only video of her performing live that I can find on Youtube, and I want live performances today.

Last but not least, we come to Kirsty McColl. *sigh* Where to begin with her? She had much greater success in the UK than she did in the US, although the cool radio stations over here always played her, and Bette Midler covered her song “In These Shoes,” which made it into the tv show Sex and the City. USians also get to hear her every Xmas, when everyone plays her duet with Shane McGowan and the Pogues, “Fairytale of New York.” Her material runs the gamut from poignant to hilarious. The poignancy runs even deeper since her death in 2000 when an idiot driving a power boat in a restricted diving area killed her.

Not going that direction today, though. Here’s Alpha Reader’s favorite song by McColl: “There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis” from 1981.

Happy Birthday, Alpha Reader!

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